October 28, 2019

Gospel LK 6:12-16 Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Reflection Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. Faced with an important decision, Jesus’ first thought was to turn to His Father and pray for guidance. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…. Jesus was viewed as a Rabbi, a teacher. It was the custom that those who wanted to learn from a Rabbi would follow him and listen to the pearls of wisdom that he spoke. These “students” were know as his “disciples.” By this time in His ministry Jesus had many disciples. Knowing that the authorities would soon condemn and crucify him, Jesus had to decide who and how many among His disciples He would choose to “send forth” as teachers (Apostles) to spread His message of the Father’s love and forgiveness. In Jewish religion and culture, numbers held important significance. When Jesus fed the five thousand with 5 loaves, there were twelve baskets left over representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Twelve is the age at which a Jewish female becomes obligated to follow Jewish law. Through prayer, Jesus was inspired to choose twelve Apostles, representing the twelve tribes of His people: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. As Apostles they were commissioned to “go forth” and be teachers of His word. All of the Apostles but John were martyred. From the zeal, dedication and sacrifice of the first Apostles, each of us has received our faith in Jesus Christ. Through our words and actions we too are called to “go forth” and be both followers (disciples) and teachers (Apostles) of the faith to all whom we encounter, beginning with our children and grandchildren. Following the example of Jesus, may we always remember to pray first before we speak or act. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 28:19